Thursday, December 23, 2010

Health Hath No Fury

After my bout with diverticulitis in early October, I’ve been watching my fiber intake quite closely. Since that time, I have not gone a day without eating at least 25g of fiber, and often I’m closer to 30g. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s getting easier, and I’m pleased with the options that exist out there for high-fiber food.

Last week, I went to the doctor for a routine physical, something I haven’t done in years. Before my doctor’s visit, I was instructed to have some blood lab work done. Overall, the results were quite positive, and the things that need improvement are not that daunting. I’m low on vitamin D, which is not so much a dietary thing as a matter of not spending enough time in the sun. My cumulative cholesterol level is in the normal range, although the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol needs improvement. I was told to be careful with saturated fats in order to help with that. And finally, my blood sugar level was basically at the very top of the normal range. Because my family has a history of diabetes, it is worth being extra careful with this. It’s recommended that I limit my carb and sugar intake.

Since my doctor’s visit, I’ve been tracking not only my fiber intake, but my carb and saturated fat intake. I’m proud of myself. I’m allowing these things genuinely to influence my decisions about what I eat. The other day, I ate a side of raw spinach without any salad dressing on it. I’ve hardly had any regular soda in the past week. When my family recently ordered a peppermint shake to share, I had only one bite of it and felt fine with that. I’m not being complete anal, especially with it being the holiday season. I know I will be having treats here and there, and I don’t even plan to pay attention to carbs or saturated fat on Christmas or New Year’s Eve. The cool thing is, if you’re selective about what you eat, the occasional treat doesn’t completely destroy you.

As an example of how well this is working for me, the other day Melanie and I decided to splurge and go to Chick-fil-A. We’re down to our last few “free combo meal” coupons that we received when I won a “year of free Chick-fil-A.” A few months ago, here’s what I would have eaten on a typical visit to Chick-fil-A:

1 spicy chicken sandwich (includes lettuce, tomato, pickles, and pepper jack cheese)
1 large waffle fries
1 large Dr. Pepper (refilled once or twice)
3 pouches of mayonnaise (2 to dip my fries in, 1 on my sandwich)

On my most recent trip to Chick-fil-A, here’s what I ate:

1 chargrilled chicken sandwich (includes lettuce, tomato, and pickles)
1 medium waffle fries
1 medium Diet Dr. Pepper (refilled once or twice)
1 pouch of light mayonnaise (to dip my fries in)

I share these details because I’m quite pleased with myself. I’m especially pleased that I’m making these choices so happily, not begrudgingly or only with great effort. And I’m quite pleased with the Chick-fil-A visit because I considered fast food a splurge, and yet that day ended up being one of my very best in terms of what I ate. My grand totals for the day that we went to Chick-fil-A were 243.5g carbs and 14g saturated fat. That’s about 81% and 70% of the recommended daily intake values, respectively. To reiterate, on a day when I went out to eat fast food, I still only consumed 70% of the recommended saturated fat daily intake level throughout the entire day! As Vanessa Bayer impersonating Miley Cyrus would say, that’s pretty cool!

I suppose it will take some time to see the results of all of this. I’m tempted to say I’ve felt more awake and alert and energetic in the mornings these past few days, but I’m not sure if that can be because of these changes. I’m not entirely sure how that would make sense. I know diet affects your energy levels, but would that happen from reducing carbs and saturated fats in particular, and especially this quickly? I still think it may be a fluke, but I’m not complaining. Anyway, time for me to go eat some high-fiber oatmeal. Laters!

1 comment:

  1. This is really good work, Ben. You should be very pleased. When a Kelsey wants to do something, he/she will do it. Karen is doing very well getting her diabetes under control as well. Khrys is following right along with the hope of setting her Thyroid straight. Quite a group you guys are. And thank goodness because I don't think you get it from your mother's genes.